At 6:30 when manservant Johnson stepped out of Sir Adam Braid’s flat, leaving his cantankerous employer settled in his chair listening to the wireless. He returns at 7:10 to find Sir Adam dead in his bedroom, stabbed through the neck. In those forty minutes several individuals are seen entering and leaving the building. One witness swears they heard Sir Adam arguing with a woman, while another one swears he was arguing with a man. Unfortunately, that witness just happens to be Sir Adam’s granddaughter Jill, who he was on the verge of disinheriting. While she seems the most likely suspect Chief-Inspector Fenn has reasons to believe she is innocent and sets out to prove it.
Cleverly constructed plot where everything hinges on the time of death. With a timeline of only forty minutes and quite a few conflicting witness statements, Thynne is able to load the story with a ton of red herrings thereby keeping the reader guessing.
The plot makes for a good police procedural, with Fenn trying to break alibis, re-examining witness statements, and a following the trail of stolen bank notes. And while Fenn isn’t the most dazzling of characters, Thynne makes up for that somewhat with the character of his friend Dr. Gilroy. Gilroy happens to have his own reasons for wanting Jill to be innocent, and sets out to prove it with little amateur detective work of his own.
The most likely suspect is unfortunately, ruled out from the beginning by the age old GAD principle that the young, sweet, and attractive just can’t have murder in their souls! But, Thynne still does well in creating a number of characters with suspect potential, as well as providing the reader with the clues needed to whittle away at that suspect list.
There is plenty here to give the reader lots of enjoyment, and I’m looking forward to reading more by Thynne in the future.
My Judgment – 4/5
Vintage Mystery Extravaganza – Vintage Themes 2012 –Cherchez le Homme: book 1 of 8 books with male detectives
Calendar of Crime Reading Challenge – April #7 – Book title has word starting with “A.”